Kukoc: Return of the Jedi Master
One of the most pleasant surprises of recent times is the resurgence of F Toni Kukoc. In the last four games Coach Stotts, half in desperation, rediscovered him deep down on his roster chart. In turn the old wizard rekindled some of that magic Bulls' fans became so accustomed to during the latter half of their 90s championship run.
His numbers for the last four games have been magnificent. He is averaging 10.8 points and nearly 7 assists per game while making 52% of his field goal attempts. His smart, unselfish play and willingness to find the open man has made the offense hum. After two years of declining CG numbers, he has posted a 31.6 CG over the last four games. CG measures a player's overall positive production per minute on the court. See how his 31.6 compares to the season averages of some of the game's big players, and you realize how brilliant he has been.
But, make no mistake, his contributions to the Milwaukee Bucks go far beyond any mere statistical numbers. Listen to what he told the Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith, and you will understand the essence of this class act:
"I know there will come a day when I have to say goodbye to basketball," Kukoc says. "But I don't feel that way yet. I still feel I can play 15 to 20 minutes every once in a while and help a team. My thing is always the team you play for, trying to make the best of it," Kukoc says. "You don't go out and say, `I want to be traded, I'm not playing.' That shows no loyalty at all. What is the point of that?"